Lightning Need Shootout To Beat Kings And Reach 100 Points

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy makes a first-period save Monday night. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

TAMPA – Following an afternoon in which the Lightning stood pat at the trade deadline they went out and reached the century mark in points with a 4-3 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night at Amalie Arena.

Tampa Bay, which improved to 48-11-4, stretched its win streak to a team record-tying nine games and its points streak to 13. At 11-0-2, the Lightning have yet to lose in February. They are also on a 7-0-2 run at home.

This victory had a little different flavor in that the Lightning scored twice in the opening period and took the 2-0 lead into the third period. They were 30-2-2 when leading after 40 minutes.

The Kings, who were 1-26-1 when trailing after two periods, scored three goals in 5:46 with the tying and go-ahead goals 36 seconds apart.

“We had a two-goal lead at home,” said Steven Stamkos, who had a pair of assists. “That needs to be automatic. We are not pleased with that, but in saying that the demeanor on the bench remained very positive to just go out and get one. Then you never know what is going to happen.”

What happened was J.T. Miller got the equalizer at 12:04, just 58 seconds after the Kings had taken the lead on Austin Wagner’s goal.

Stamkos intercepted a Matt Doy pass and from just inside the left circle found Miller in the slot. Miller beat goalie Jack Campbell with a one-timer to the glove side.

“We had a good forecheck and I am not sure how Stammer got it, but he disrupted the play,” said Miller. “It’s nice to put the puck in the net. Obviously, I would like to do it a little more. But I’ll keep shooting the puck a little more.”

With neither team able to pick up the additional point in overtime, the Lightning took the shootout, 3-2. Victor Hedman’s goal, a wrist shot that beat Campbell to the glove side provided the difference. His goal was followed by Andrei Vasilevskiy’s save on Dustin Brown to give Tampa Bay the two points it needed to reach 100 and become the fourth-fastest team in NHL history to do so.

“It was a weird game,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper, whose team had numerous opportunities, including hitting the post three times during a second-period powerplay, to go up 3-0. “We felt if we got the third one we could have had a few more. Maybe it would have changed the game a little bit. We didn’t get it and we let them hang around. (The Kings) were battling and give them credit.”

The nine-game win streak equals the team record from February 18 to March 5, 2016. The Lightning will look to break the mark in New York against the Rangers on Wednesday night.

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Tom Layberger has been a sports writer, reporter and editor since 1990. Among the companies he has worked for are Comcast, NBC and The Topps Company. In addition to being a contributing writer for sportstalkflorida.com, Tom also writes for forbes.com and globalsportmatters.com. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs and a USF grad, Tom is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation. He resides in Tampa.